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LII                   THE SELJUK TURKS                 109
present day as a picturesque sect in the Lebanon and
The Career of Hasan Sabbah.—Hasan Sabbah, whom
we have met as an enemy of the Nizam-ul-Mulk in the
reign of Malik Shah, was the son of a native of Kufa and
was born at Kum. Like his father, he belonged to the
"Sect of the Twelve" until he fell under the influence
of the famous Nasir-i-Khusru, the "Proof" of Khorasan
(who is referred to in Chapter LIV.), and other Fatimid
dais. He was advised to proceed to Egypt, where he
was received with honour ; returning thence to Persia, he
extended the Fatimid propaganda to Yezd, Kerman, and
Tabaristan, but he avoided the city of Rei, whose governor,
a son-in-law of the Nizam-ul-Mulk, was under orders to
seize him.
His next step was to capture by an artifice the
mountain fortress of Alamut in the Elburz range, close
to the road which runs from Kazvin to Resht. This was
accomplished in A.H. 483 (1090), and was followed by
similar successes in other parts of Persia, more especially
in the province of Kuhistan, where Tabas, Tun, Kain,
Zuzan, Khur, and Khusf became centres of Ismaili power.
"The Old Man of the Mountain''—Hasan Sabbah,
having established his position, broke off from the
Ismailis of Egypt on the death of the Fatimite Caliph
Mustansir in A.H. 487 (1094) by espousing the cause of
Nizar, the unsuccessful claimant, whose brother, Mustali,
succeeded to the throne of Cairo.
Hasan Sabbah now reorganized the order, at the head
of which he placed himself as the Grand Master,
commonly termed the Shaykh-ul-Jabal, or " Chief of the
Mountain." Inasmuch as cc Shaykh " is frequently used
as a term of respect to grey-beards, this title passed into
Europe in the form "le Vieux" or "The Old Man of
the Mountain." Next in the hierarchy came the Grand
Priors of districts or sees, with their staff of dai. Below
these superior grades were the " Companions," the
cc Adherents," and lastly the famous Fidals or " Devotees,"
whose fanatical disregard of life made the sect feared
even by the most puissant monarchs. The Crusaders,